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August 26, 2013

Coach Paul Chryst has the press conference for Pitt-FSU today. It’s at noon and being streamed live. I may be watching and commenting. [Editor Note: Correction, it appears to be a premium feature so no live watching unless it's being aired on ROOT.]

Okay, the game notes for Pitt-FSU are out (PDF). On page three you can find the first 2-deep.

I’m not going to try and reprint the whole thing, because fixing the formatting would take too long.

So let’s just hit the surprises/highlights/etc.

Artie Rowell is listed as the starting Center. There is no OR. Considering Roberts still struggled in training camp with the snap exchange, this can’t be a total shocker.

Tyler Boyd is indeed the starting #2 wide receiver. T.J. Clemmings is starting over Dorian Johnson at right tackle.

The two-deep features two-tight ends. J.P. Holtz is one starter (ahead of Scott Orndoff) and Manasseh Garner is listed as the other (with Jaymar Parrish behind him). No fullback and Garner’s spot is not being called the H-back.

Isaac Bennett is being listed as the running back, but Malcolm Crockett is listed behind him rather than James Conner. Not sure if it’s the shoulder or just meaningless. That will likely be a question in the presser today.

Over to the defense, Ejuan Price is listed as OR at both defensive end starter spot. Interesting because I interpret that to mean they really are high on Price as a disruptor in passing situations, and are looking to line him up where they feel he can create the most havoc.

Anthony Gonzalez is listed as the starting linebacker over Todd Thomas. We’ll see how much time Gonzalez and Bam Bradley actually are out on the field over Thomas.

Actually seeing Ray Vinopal and than Cullen Christian as #1 and #2 at free safety on the depth chart fills my heart with dread.

No Tyler Boyd on punt or kickoff returns. My money is on that happening by the third game.

I am not exactly wild about the set-up for punt and kickoff returns. Senior CB K’Wuan Williams is the primary punt returner. On kickoffs it is CB Lafayette Pitts and S Jason Hendricks. All three are clearly the best at their positions on defense. Not to mention both Williams and Hendricks have battled injuries at various times. So sticking them back there is a little unnerving. It was pointed out on twitter that some of it may be motivated by Chryst trying to help both seniors with their draft stock by featuring them on special teams.

Notes on the depth chart from Chris Peak at PantherLair.

Now just waiting for the presser.





HTP baby. It’s a new era!

Comment by Todd Gack 08.26.13 @ 10:12 am

i wonder if the mon night game will effect the pitt fans, it sure doesnt effect the nfl? i hope we sell out heinz or this can be sad.

Comment by mike 08.26.13 @ 10:23 am

Right on Todd! Jacked up for some Pitt football — and some downfield passes even?! As Myron might have said, ‘Yoy!’

Comment by Matt N. 08.26.13 @ 11:03 am

I feel the same way about the special teams. Surely there is a backup WR that can help us here?

Comment by Atlanta Panther 08.26.13 @ 12:00 pm

when was the last time Pitt performed well in a nationally televised game??? Might as well be excited now before the season starts and all hope is flushed down the drain as per standard operating procedures for Pitt athletics. Hmmm, do I sound bitter???

Comment by Coach Ditka 08.26.13 @ 12:43 pm

I’d say Pitt did great against Notre Dame. Probably should’ve won if the officials didn’t actively rig it.

Comment by Justin 08.26.13 @ 12:47 pm

To elaborate, if Pitt loses in OT to FSU in a close, hard fought game, I don’t think most people could complain.

Comment by Justin 08.26.13 @ 12:48 pm

I CAN’T WAIT FOR SOME PITT FOOTBALL!!!!!

After the offseason we’ve had, I just want to watch a damn game. I haven’t posted often since last season, because until they play, it’s all speculation.

I hope PITT is ready to come out and smack FSU in the mouth from the opening kickoff. In last year’s opener and some of the other games, we came out flat. We cannot afford to do that against FSU. I hope PC has his men ready to play as soon as they run out of the tunnel. If he does indeed have HIS type of players now after the Israelite-like Exodus in the offseason, he should know HOW to motivate them.

We can predict all we want (6-7 wins is mine), but I just want to see if they play with heart and play physical.

If Pitt’s OL can get a good push in the run game, it’s possible they can control the clock and keep Winston and Co. on the sidelines. For the defense, a timely turnover (or three) in our favor would up the pressure on the frosh QB. He may have all the talent and tools in the world, but he’s only faced HS defenses up to now in actual games. Let Donald knock him around a little bit and see how he reacts. If Pitt can consistently get hits on him, his inexperience may start to show.

My kool-aid (spiked with Makers Mark) prediction for 9/2, take the 10.5 points. (IMO, it will move to about 12 prior to kickoff). I don’t have a lot of hope they will win, but I think they can keep it within a TD.

GO PITT!!!!!

Comment by pghFred 08.26.13 @ 12:57 pm

Northwestern and Wisconsin announce new uni’s for a game this season…too bad nothing new announced for the Panthers!

Comment by markp 08.26.13 @ 1:10 pm

Game week preparation underway.

Comment by PittofDreams 08.26.13 @ 1:11 pm

Justin, you’re right to feel that way. But they unfortunately will.

Time for Pitt to win a BIG GAME. Can they?

Prediction still being formulated.

Comment by PittofDreams 08.26.13 @ 1:21 pm

I just heard Jovani Chappel got arrested for robbing a bank in Greenfield. Good grief, at least it’s an ex-player.

Comment by Nick 08.26.13 @ 1:26 pm

from a pure return skills prospective, I love pitts, Williams, and Hendricks. however, pitt cannot afford injuries to those guys especially Jason Hendricks considering the other safety spot scares the crap out of me. one thing to note is that pitts and boyd cant return kicks together as they share #23

Comment by pk 08.26.13 @ 1:29 pm

also, jevonte pitts really went under the radar this camp. he must have done well to earn the backup spot behind Hendricks, though

Comment by pk 08.26.13 @ 1:30 pm

Sorry boys…Taking FSU – 10.5 but hoping for upset. Easy money Florida State isn’t Youngstown State.

Comment by Upittbaseball 08.26.13 @ 1:36 pm

I think Savage might surprise some people since he’s been off the radar so long — really looking to see if he can hook up with Street, who runs a nice deep route. Just have to keep FSU’s line at bay somewhat to give time — I expect early game O-line jitters, but then settling in.

Comment by Matt N. 08.26.13 @ 1:40 pm

good to have a central pa guy on the line, we sit in arties row

Comment by paul shannon 08.26.13 @ 1:44 pm

Well Baseball…the best way to get your team to win is to put money on the other team. Thanks for the Karma!

Comment by Atlanta Panther 08.26.13 @ 2:21 pm

2 deep………where is Conner?

Comment by isnore 08.26.13 @ 2:36 pm

isnore, he could be day-to-day because of a minor shoulder injury or it is some sort of motivational shake-up type of deal.

Comment by pk 08.26.13 @ 2:43 pm

Atlanta – I used to do it with the steelers.. I’d rather lose money and Pitt win. I’d just hate for Pitt to lose (atleast by less than 10.5) LOL.

Comment by Upittbaseball 08.26.13 @ 2:44 pm

On the positive side, nothing that happens could be worse than last year’s opener….

Comment by Bobby 08.26.13 @ 3:45 pm

Really concerned with health issues at RB after the presser

The only team that can beat FSU on Monday is FSU give the points which I think will be 13.5 at game time

Comment by Dan 72 08.26.13 @ 4:51 pm

Teams that are large Underdogs usually have to play with some effective EMOTION to beat a heavily favored team. (see Pitt at Wvcc)

I think we can play with the Crimi-noles, but only if we play with effective EMOTION.

The big question mark in my mind is:

Can this coaching staff get this team ‘jacked up’ emotionally enough to pull of the upset.

Or will one fumble, one interception, one miscue just totally turn PITT into a big piece of jello.

Hopefully having Larry Fitzgerald around will provide some extra motivation.

Comment by EMel 08.26.13 @ 4:58 pm

If Bennett and Connor are not playing or effectively limited in their play.

We’re toast, as Malcom “Sonny” Crockett has shown nada in camp.

Comment by EMel 08.26.13 @ 5:02 pm

On the positive side, nothing that happens could be worse than last year’s opener….

Comment by Bobby 08.26.13 @ 3:45 pm

That one wasn’t on National TV to an entire nation on Labor Day nite.

We’ve got a small chance to change the nation’s image of PITT football. The ND game was a small step, as most in the nation watched and pulled for PITT. We lost but we lost showing we could compete with a Big Boy.

This is our best chance this season to change an entire country’s image of the state of Pitt football. It really is a unique opportunity for PC & staff and for Pitt football in general.

For there are no other football games on Labor Day nite on National TV but PITT/FSU .

Truly a Golden opportunity !

Comment by EMel 08.26.13 @ 5:11 pm

Damn! I did all that stuff this am then they come out with a formal two-deep hours later. My luck eh?

I’m usually really optimistic about the season going in but I have butterflies in the stomach this year. I figured 7-5 last year with Sunseri, who I thought would be better in his SR year, and Ray Graham who I figured would give us his normal 1,000 yards.

It would be a lot easier on us fans if PITT had played consistently throughout the 2013 season but with the ‘two on / two off’ W/L dance I have no real idea of how that 2012 team was built.

As always then; the default prediction of 6-6 for the regular season kicks in. Not a reach as we’ve been 7-5, 6-6 & 6-6 over the last three years.

Comment by Reed 08.26.13 @ 5:33 pm

Lots of loners on the team last year, Tino among them. Hopefully fewer this year

Comment by steve1 08.26.13 @ 5:53 pm

did you mean ‘losers’ steve1 ?

Comment by EMel 08.26.13 @ 7:02 pm

I’ll be watching the game on TV, but for you guys who will be there, I’d like someone to comment on the level of enthusiasm and intensity from the players on the sidelines. I always felt that it showed a lack of control by the coaches when players were smiling, talking and generally fooling around on the sidelines, especially when Pitt was getting badly beat. I’d love to know if the Pitt players look focused on winning.

Comment by PittStadiumShuffle 08.26.13 @ 7:11 pm

Coach Ditka, you should be ashamed of yourself. Did you ever harbor an attitude like that during your playing days at Pitt? Yeez!

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.26.13 @ 7:16 pm

Justin pleeaasse! If we lose another heart breaker like the ND game, then that is not a moral victory, it is just a bitter defeat, PLAIN AND SIMPLE! If Pitt takes it to overtime there is no reason to accept defeat! At that point you just win the frickin game. PERIOD!

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.26.13 @ 7:20 pm

@pgh Fred, you gotta cut back on the makers Mark, it’s effecting your math. I’d settle for 9-2 as well but we play twelve regular season games this season. LOL.

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.26.13 @ 7:23 pm

@ UPittbaseball, I expected nothing less from you. I just hope that Pitt makes it a lot easier on you by winning the game rather than just covering the spread. Bad for you both ways, to lose your bet and have Pitt come up short on the victory too.

With an improbable Pitt upset, at least you can bask in the glow of a Pitt victory while you add up your loses.

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.26.13 @ 7:29 pm

Probably, EMel. Some were just trying to get through the season unscathed.

Oy vey, I say!

But the absolutely worst moment for me was when they actually all came together against ND. And lost.

My wife came down to console me. I exploded, “JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!”

Comment by steve1 08.26.13 @ 7:32 pm

omg…I’m gonna be so jacked from about 7pm to 9pm…and hope to stay jacked all night…I hope Heinz is thumpn!! come on boys this team needs a home field advantage….h2p!!

Comment by Keith 08.26.13 @ 7:58 pm

I believe the 9/2 referred to above was for Sept. 2, not a 9-2 record

Comment by pittman4ever 08.26.13 @ 8:26 pm

looked over the schedule again today… If Pitt beats the teams it should, or can be called their ‘peers’… Pitt goes 7-5… the key to that will be Virginia which we play here.

So that is realistic but means they have to beat all they should… N. Carolina, Navy, Syracuse,…

Throw in one upset vs. FSU (hey we can dream), ND, V. Tech or Miami and they can be 8-4..

… so say they lose one they should have one… and have one upset…. 7-5.

Comment by Pittscript 08.26.13 @ 8:51 pm

FSU doesn’t have one player on defense that weighs 300 lbs & they’re db’s are all under 6′. – Pitt’s offensive line is huge & I think we can push them around & wear them out by the 4th qtr. Also FSU’S wr’s are smallish, but we need pressure from disguised blitzes. The kicking game is our ace in the hole & mark my words will be the deciding factor. Yoklic should keep FSU with a long field & if we just put together some nice drives Blewitt will make sure we come away with points. For some I feel really good about this one!!

Comment by daddylonglegs 08.26.13 @ 9:04 pm

Daddylonglegs, i love your enthusiasm but isnt blewitt a true freshman playing in his first college game. Oh and its in front of a few million people. He wont be nervous at all eh? Hahaha

Comment by Upittbaseball 08.26.13 @ 9:37 pm

I’m guessing that FSU is going to run the ball an awful lot next Monday. I see them wanting to control the ball and put their new QB in favorable throwing situations etc.

I look for Pitt to do the same. And, I look for Pitt to adjust the LBs to get the best run stoppers into the game.

IMO, this could make for a lower scoring game. And, a game that is possibly up for grabs.

Comment by Rockymtnhigh 08.26.13 @ 9:52 pm

I just cant wait for Monday night. Should be a real electric atmosphere and an actual home field advantage, instead of a bunch of empty yellow seats. Golden opportunity for this team, this program, and recruiting going forward. God, I’m a nervous wreck already…LOL

Comment by Pap76 08.26.13 @ 10:50 pm

Rocky, if you watch the FSU spring game they didnt put training wheels on Jameis. He made bigtime throws. They expect us to try to stop run so i bet they stretch us out or at least try to do that.

Comment by Upittbaseball 08.26.13 @ 11:42 pm

Fsu’s wr’s are banged up and Pitts and Williams island will take over and dominate! Going to be much closer than many people think. It’s Pitt, play up and down to their opponents! Always have! I’m predicting Pitt 17 Fsu 14 in a sloppy first game where defense will win us the game!

Comment by Sweet Caroline 08.26.13 @ 11:44 pm

Honestly, I’d play Des Brown or Ibrahim before Crockett for the speed factor alone. But I’ll bet a dollar Conner starts or at least plays a bunch.

UPitt – I think Blewitt has that ‘cool under pressure’ that is needed in a kicker. He’s been on the big stage before in HS and succeeded. We’ll see but if I’m looking at someone who may really feel the pressure it is Tom Savage.

In the past he’s been the type of QB who carries a mistake around with him for awhile.

Let’s hope that Street on offense and Donald on defense can keep the team and the huddles upbeat and calm.

Comment by Reed 08.27.13 @ 4:52 am

I have a feeling that Pitt WILL NOT pull a Youngstown State against the Seminoles. This game will be close. If Coach Chryst can get this Pitt team to play with effort and discipline, they may even shock the Seminoles.

Win or lose I’m for Pitt to the end.

H2P!

Comment by MariettaMike 08.27.13 @ 5:39 am

@pittman4ever, OOPS my bad.

BTW, MariettaMike, I sincerely hope that Pitt DOES “pull a Youngstown State against the Seminoles” as in an underdog comes into the opener with the attitude to knock somebody upside the head and accomplishes that from the opening kickoff never allowing the team that should dominate the game from ever taking a lead, ending up embarrassing them by their superior play throughout the entire contest. Yeah, lets be YSU!!!!!!

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.27.13 @ 6:36 am

The great thing is that nobody is giving us a chance. If we do get blown out, people will just point out how good Florida State is.

If we hang tough but lose, people will point out how scrappy our team is, or how poorly Florida State played, or both.

If we win…well then we better win the next three games!

Comment by Atlanta Panther 08.27.13 @ 7:38 am

Know your enemy: link to insider.espn.go.com

Looks like we’re not the only ones breaking in some freshmen.

I’m hoping Pitts and Williams can shut these guys down.

They better put a fast and athletic spy on their QB too, or he’ll kill us with his legs.

Honestly fellas, I think we might have a chance. Not a good chance, but a chance.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 08.27.13 @ 7:41 am

Atlantic Panther, you just pegged one of the keys to the game for Pitt. If Winston is allowed to run around to gain yardage on the ground and provide the time required for his receivers to come free, then “Houston we have a BIG problem”. I see the PRICE is right for that spy duty off the edge. Todd Thomas on some key LB blitzes might not be a bad idea coming from the blind side to keep Jeameis preoccupied in his thought processes as well. Disruption of the QB will be key for Pitt.

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.27.13 @ 7:50 am

Atlanta and Doc – It would appear the Offensive Line is FSU’s strength. No bueno for us…

link to tallahassee.com

Comment by Upittbaseball 08.27.13 @ 8:18 am

I love all the enthusiasm. I really do as I’m pumped for the game. But I feel this way every year – and you all know how that has turned out recently. I just foresee FSU starting off their first series with about 4 or 5 runs that end up in the end zone. Their OL is good, real good and they have super speed at RB/WR and QB.

Comment by JJ 08.27.13 @ 8:19 am

I actually think both offenses will start this game off strong. pitts d will struggle early because they have to adjust to the speed of a new opponent and fsu’s will because they have a lot of new faces playing an unfamiliar team and an unfamiliar style. pitt and Syracuse are really the only acc teams who run a pro-style offense and tom savage might be the only acc qb who takes significant snaps under center. like I said, I expect strong offense for the first 2 or 3 series of the game and then it wil become a defensive game.

of course, who cares as long as pitt wins? id like a 10-7 win just as much as a 45-38 one!

Comment by pk 08.27.13 @ 8:57 am

Guys, It woudn’t surprise me if we lose by 25, lose by 9 or win by 3 or by 10. I have no clue to honestly access our team and or FSU’s at this point. History would say they win by 20 but this game could go 50 different ways.

Comment by Upittbaseball 08.27.13 @ 9:01 am

Upittbaseball, you are right on concerning FSU’s OL, their weakness there is at the TE position, that is why I was mentioning coming off the edges for disruption. It exposes our secondary to man to man coverages if you take that gamble and over weight the defensive line or bring a backer or corner, but unless Jameis is quick on the draw we could produce enough pressure on those types of plays to cause him to get him to make mistakes.

Make no doubt about it, turnovers and big plays will be necessary for Pitt to stay in this game.

Comment by Dr. Tom 08.27.13 @ 9:17 am

Let’s strap it on and play boys! Only way to decide who we are and how we play.

As for the uni’s – it seems to me that the Pitt athletic department doesnt understand marketing and the opportunity a change of uniforms – if for only a game, generates in PR, fan excitement and income.

HTP – beat the ‘noles!

Comment by Pitt it IS 08.27.13 @ 9:50 am

Just for a second imagine this……….

No one knows and no secret leaks……

Pederson changes the uniforms to the yellow and blue and we had the script. The excitement and the national audience would do a double take and say wow Pitt’s uni’s look awesome. Pitt is playing tonight. Not Navy, Notre Dame, etc.

Then I wake up and realize Pederson is our AD and our marketing department is bush league.

Comment by Upittbaseball 08.27.13 @ 10:07 am

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